Pregnancy is a time of joy and anticipation for many mothers-to-be, but unfortunately, it can also be a period when discrimination in the workplace rears its ugly head. Despite legal protections such as the Minnesota Human Rights Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in place, pregnancy discrimination against mothers remains a persistent issue in Minnesota workplaces. In this blog, we’ll explore three of the most common examples of pregnancy discrimination we see in our legal practice.
- Denied Promotion or Advancement: One common form of pregnancy discrimination is when employers deny pregnant employees opportunities for advancement within the company. This discrimination may manifest in several ways, such as bypassing promotions, not assigning important projects, or transferring job responsibilities to colleagues. In essence, this denies pregnant employees the chance to grow professionally and contributes to gender disparities in the workplace.
- Denied Accommodations Requests: Employers have a legal obligation to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees, such as adjusted work schedules or modified duties, as long as these accommodations do not pose an undue burden on the business. However, some employers may resist making such accommodations, making it difficult for pregnant women to continue working safely during their pregnancy.
- Unlawful Termination: Perhaps the most severe form of pregnancy discrimination is unlawful termination. Some employers, despite federal and state laws protecting pregnant workers, choose to terminate pregnant employees under the guise of other reasons. This wrongful termination not only affects the mother’s livelihood but also the family’s financial stability, creating significant emotional and financial hardships.
Workplace pregnancy discrimination isn’t merely an individual concern; it’s a societal issue that requires our collective attention. Pregnancy discrimination doesn’t just harm women; it affects their families and children. When pregnant mothers face discrimination, it can lead to financial instability and other negative outcomes impacting families and their children’s well-being.
Accordingly, it’s important that pregnancy anti-discrimination laws are enforced – and that pregnant employees know their rights stemming from these laws. If you or someone you know has experienced pregnancy discrimination, seek legal counsel immediately. At Schaefer Halleen, we are dedicated to ensuring that mothers receive the protection and justice they deserve. Do not hesitate to reach out to us and learn how we might be able to help.